How-to: Dye Silk with Kool-aid to Make Washable Play Silks and Wearable Fabric

put the wet silk into a microwave-safe container

After ten minutes, drain the liquid from the pot. At this point, there are a couple of ways to further heat-set the dye–you can do either, or one, or none:

The first option is to dump the soaking wet, vividly colored play silks straight into a microwave-safe container (if you don’t have a microwave, you can, of course, skip this step). I tend to use the same zip-top plastic bag over and over, but a lidded glass bowl will also do the trick nicely. Microwave the play silks for about two minutes to steam-set the dye.

The second option is to dump the soaking wet, vividly colored play silks straight into the clothes dryer, and dry them until they’re bone-dry to heat-set the dye.

When you’ve finished with one, or both, or none of these options, dump the dyed play silks (only one color at a time!) into your washing machine. Wash the play silks in hot water using your regular detergent (I use my homemade laundry soap, made with my homemade hot-process soap), with a second rinse and a good-sized glug of vinegar in the washer’s spot for the rinse aid.

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. the actual amount of kool-aid should be 1 packet to 1 oz of silk… I use the same process to hand dye wool yarn.

    You can also use eye droppers or sponge brushes to paint the ‘dye’ on the playsilk, the way you would dye a skien of yarn… You can also mix up the kool-aid, water, and vinegar in a microwave safe bowl, add the silk, and microwave for 2 minutes, let rest for 2 minutes, microwave for 2 minutes, let rest for 2 minutes, lather rinse repeat until the water is clear or mostly clear. (It will be hot, as will your playsilk at this point) dump in the sink and rinse in hot water, gradually cooling, until there is no dye coming out of them

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